Tomorrow begins the new year. For some of us it is just another day and the direction in our lives, if any, remains unchanged. But many people see New Year’s Day as a significant time to take account of the year past and to plan for the year ahead. Often this involves “New Year’s Resolutions”. These resolutions are more like declarations of intent: “I will lose weight this year”, “I will stop smoking this year”, “I will keep the kitchen clean this year”, etc. Here are the top resolutions for Americans:
1 Lose Weight
2 Getting Organized
3 Spend Less, Save More
4 Enjoy Life to the Fullest
5 Staying Fit and Healthy
6 Learn Something Exciting
7 Quit Smoking
8 Help Others in Their Dreams
9 Fall in Love
10 Spend More Time with Family
How many Americans usually make New Year’s Resolutions: 45%.
How many Americans never make New Year’s Resolutions: 38%.
39% of people in their 20s achieve their resolutions. 14% of those over 50 achieve them.
Overall only 46% of people who make these resolutions are still succeeding with them after July 1. That number goes down as the days pass after July 1. These statistics are found at: http://www.statisticbrain.com/new-years-resolution-statistics/
Five Simple Rules to Achieve Your Goals
You can be more successful at keeping these resolutions, or as I prefer to call them annual goals, by following just a few simple rules.
- Achieve Clarity. Go to my Yearly Planning post (12/15/14) to learn how to create clarity about what you want to achieve.
- Be Specific. When you formulate your goals be specific. Decide exactly what you want to achieve in some quantitative way and decide when you will achieve it. It is useless to resolve that you will lose weight. How will you ever know when or if you have achieved it? Will losing one pound achieve it? Decide how much and by when: I will lose 20 lbs. by March 1 for example. Quantity and time.
- Write it Down. Many studies show that we achieve more of what we write down. It reminds us, keeps us on task and makes it more real for us.
- Plan It. If you do not make a plan for how you are going to achieve your goal it is not likely you will achieve it. Good intentions on January 1 may not mean much by February 1. They likely will be forgotten by July 1. Write down the steps you need to take to achieve your goal and set deadlines for those steps. Write them down on your calendar or planner on future dates.
- Keep Track. It is an iron law in management that things measured can be managed; things not measured cannot be managed. Keep a journal or even just a few notes on a calendar to see how you are doing. For weight loss for example write down your weight once a week. That is how you know if you are succeeding. That is how you keep yourself accountable.
If you faithfully follow these five steps you are far more likely to achieve your goals. You are more likely to be as on track with them on December 31 as you were on January 1. By the way, I said these rules were simple, and they are, but they are not necessarily easy. To follow through with these rules for a year can be difficult. But then most things in life worth achieving are not easy, right?
Good luck. And, Happy New Year!Wishing you well,
Daniel R. Murphy
Educating people for building wealth, adapting to a changing future and personal development.